Youngner, Julius
Interview Date
December 2, 1992
Julius Youngner, a scientist who helped develop the Salk polio vaccine; born, 1920
[T1S1] Respondent reports use of mother's maiden name and extent of contact with grandparents. Death of parents mentioned. Opposition to Respondent's marriage is related; children's educations and occupations are discussed. Grandchildren's religious education in Ohio is reported. Second wife's family's immigrations are reported; Respondent indicates lack of religious observance. Respondent's interest in wife's family's foreign experiences is expressed.
[T1S2] Bronx landlord's kindness and family's hardships during the depression are recounted. Discipline administered by grandmother and responsibility given Respondent as youth are discussed. Respondent's recounts developing a phobia as child in Austria-Hungary and successful visit to faith healer. Respondent reports grandmother's and own superstitions. Languages acquired during trips to Poland are noted; relative's locations in Poland in the 1930s are reported. Respondent's feelings toward grandmother are explained.
[T2S3] Neighborhood, apartment and landlord in Bronx are characterized. Respondent's childhood athletic activities and school disciplinary incidents are reported. Tussles between neighborhood children are recounted. Respondent's change of residence and school in New York is explained. Respondent's commute to, and studies at, New York University are reported. Respondent's studies at Michigan are reported. Treatment of Respondent's pneumonia, and its complications, as a child are extensively described.
[T2S4] Benefit of antibiotics is illustrated. Respondent reports conclusion of studies at Michigan. Respondent's initial deferment and eventual induction into military service is explained. Inexplicable segregation from his company after training is recounted; intrigue surrounding Respondent's re-assignment into the Manhattan Project is described. Respondent's work with uranium salts in Rochester, New York for the Manhattan Project is discussed. Laboratory precautions of the time are related.
[T3S5] Respondent characterizes high school career and graduate school mentor. Respondent indicates the anti-Semitism, embezzlement and suicide of the department head at Michigan. Respondent's reaction to the use of atomic bombs in WWII is explained. Respondent's interest in virus after WWII and circumstances of working with Jonas Salk are related. Respondent chronicles the amounts and sources of research funds from 1940s to 1990s. Importance of limited strains of polio to research is indicated. Respondent's role in developing a polio vaccine is related.
[T3S6] Respondent mentions the initial vaccinations and testing sites for the polio vaccine. Respondent explains the obscurity of Salk's colleagues; Salk's refusal to recognize Respondent's contribution is illustrated. Respondent notes the causes of the Cutter incident in 1955. Costs and benefits of live and killed virus polio vaccines are discussed. Sabin and Salk are briefly characterized. Occurrences of polio outbreaks are mentioned; benefits of universal immunization are outlined. Motivation for and initial funding of the Salk Institute and Salk Hall are reported. Professions of Salk's siblings are mentioned.
[T4S7] Attempt to retain Salk in Pittsburgh is reiterated. Lack of Jews on the medical faculty in 1949 is observed; mechanism of quota on Jewish medical students is detailed. Factors in removal of obstacles to Jews are specified. Respondent's first wife, her illness and death are discussed. Respondent's interest and activities in the civil rights movement in Pittsburgh in 1950s is expressed. Respondent's children's activitism and rebellion are indicated.
[T4S8] Respondent reports circumstances of visit to Israel. Family vacations and professional visits are enumerated. Honors are noted. Progress, purpose and applicability of Respondent's current research are indicated. Respondent's relationship with pharmaceutical companies and the National Institute of Health since the 1950s is reported. Respondent's interest in laboratory work is reported. Wife's professional pursuits are specified. Respondent's satisfaction with career is expressed.
Medicine--Research; Poliomyelitis vaccine--Research; Salk, Jonas; Science; Mahattan Project (U.S.); World War, 1939-1945
Birth Date
New York, NY
University of Pittsburgh
Length (hours)
Dinman, Gabrielle
Harrison, Mary
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